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The Complete Stories

4.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,267 Ratings  ·  1,099 Reviews

Winner of the National Book Award

The publication of this extraordinary volume firmly established Flannery O'Connor's monumental contribution to American fiction. There are thirty-one stories here in all, including twelve that do not appear in the only two story collections O'Connor put together in her short lifetimeEverything That Rises Must Converge and A Good Man Is Ha

Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 1st 1973 by Farrar, Straus And Giroux (first published 1971)
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Rui Ning Wang It's not really a question, but thank you for sharing these quotes. I think they are quite representative of the introverted perfectionist O'Conner…moreIt's not really a question, but thank you for sharing these quotes. I think they are quite representative of the introverted perfectionist O'Conner was. She did not write to please the reader, or to gain recognition (like many of the characters in her stories). She dedicated her life perfecting little by little the art of translating human nature onto paper. To me, each story feels like a punch in the stomach, and reading through this complete collection feels like getting punched repeatedly. But somehow I'm loving it, and I want to keep reading.(less)
Chris No, not racist (unless you think holding to some racial stereotypes racist). She wrote about society in general, from the south where she was from, in…moreNo, not racist (unless you think holding to some racial stereotypes racist). She wrote about society in general, from the south where she was from, in a very raw way. She was also writing at a time when the civil-rights movement of the 60s was in its infancy.

I think she let her readers try to figure it out for the most part. Many of her stories have these ironies rooted in them that you have to think about. She doesn't just come out and say something should be wrong or right. But if you read some of these a few times and let them fester, I think you'll find she's saying a lot.(less)

Community Reviews

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The stories in this collection were written by an unassuming yet serious Catholic woman from Georgia who, after devoting her short life to writing, died of lupus in 1964. Besides the stories, she had written two novels and started a third; one can only speculate what other masterpieces she would have written had she lived longer.

The stories are hard-bitten, bizarre and haunting. Two that I read years ago in college have stuck with me and are just as jarring today as they were then. O'Connor's th
"Listen here," he hissed, "I don't care if he's good or not. He ain't right!
A Stroke of Good Fortune. The Life You Save May Be Your Own. The River. The Displaced Person. A View of the Woods. The Lame Shall Enter First. Two of these are contained within Everything That Rises Must Converge. A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories has the other four. Neither one would have done as much good in my estimation as the works in toto. Key word my.

Flannery O'Connor was an author whose name seeped i
Mar 21, 2012 ·Karen· rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

I can't imagine what it would have been like to live inside Mary Flannery O'Connor's head, obviously. But I am damned sure it can't have been agreeable. Her world is peopled with monsters. Damaged, limbs severed. Afflicted. Not whole. Children like evil spirits that descend on the sanctimonious. Parents that neglect, or beat their children. Bigots. The cruel and the feckless and the randomly murderous. Their names are monstrous too. Mr
Apr 04, 2016 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since I won't be reading this collection straight through, I figured I'd rate the first 15 stories that I have read. Except for one here or there in anthologies, this is my first time reading her short stories and I can't believe it took me this long to get to her. They are amazingly good.
April 29, 2009


April 3, 2016

Now I can't believe it took me seven years to get back to this volume, expect for recognizing that O'Connor's unflinching worldview isn't always a lure and, of course, the main excu
In The Geranium, Old Dudley is the proverbial fish-out-water, overwhelmed by his environment, regretting his choice to trade familiar small town for a chance to see the Big Apple. To escape the constant onslaught on his senses, he’s fixated on the daily regimen of a neighbor’s geranium, the closest thing to nature, i.e., ‘back home’ he’s found. But in a twist comparable to the best of O’Henry, Dudley’s prejudice is revealed by unwelcome kindness from an ‘enemy’ and animosity comes to him from an ...more
You know the cliché saying, "the moral of the story is..." Flannery O'Connor's stories all seem illustrative of this saying--in a good way. She has a way of using disgruntled characters to showcase social issues of her time. Once you get past the slurs (in most cases the n-word for me) to really read the story and see that she uses such care to highlight realism in her somewhat mystical fiction, so that you get to see the ignorance and shortcomings of her characters, you get it. How she could ha ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
One of my 2014 reading goals was to read Flannery O'Connor. It got to be Christmas 2014 and I hadn't touched her, so I have binge read all of her stories in just a few days.

It might not be the best way to do it, but some of the repeated events and themes - death, guilt, resistance to chance, issues with religion - start to become comical when repeated at such rapid frequency.

And laughter is appropriate. Flannery O'Connor is not afraid of humor, evidenced by one of the only surviving recordings o
Jun 10, 2014 Erik rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
An unforgettable collection of hard-hitting, caustically humorous and unrelentingly cynical stories from perhaps the strongest female voice in Southern U.S. fiction. O’Connor turns her merciless eye on religious hypocrisy, class consciousness, racism, gender roles, familial relationships, and other fertile topics, plowing them for the ugly truths they reveal about the general nature of humankind. Spending time with her characters (all of whom are depressive, delusional, misanthropic, criminal, p ...more
Tom Mathews
Flannery O’connor is an acquired taste. Her tales may not tell a linear story in the commonly accepted sense but her insightful portrayals of quirky characters are unforgettable. 4 1/5 stars.
Joe Valdez
In February 1948, Flannery O'Connor, a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Iowa, was twenty-three years old and eager to please the publishing industry with the beginning chapters of a novel-in-progress titled Wise Blood. A letter O'Connor received from one such publisher was not receptive. He commended her for being a straight-shooter and added that she was gifted, but with a loneliness in her work, as if she were writing simply out of her own experience.

O'Connor responded to a fr
Apr 27, 2015 Cosimo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La vita che salvi

Non si può fuggire alla capacità dei racconti della O'Connor di cambiarti in profondità nel corso di pochi minuti, dentro a quel labirinto eterno e ineffabile di significati implacabili e di fatti primordiali, affilati come lame di pugnali, letali come il veleno di un serpente. La O'Connor ci sospinge al di là del buio, nell'oscurità che non possiamo conoscere; come autrice si trasforma in un destino che ci guida, attraverso le sfide del vivere, le domande senza risposta, la lot
Jun 01, 2008 Allen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I begin, let me say this: by no means is Flannery O'Conner a bad writer. She knows her quite very well. But there is a major beef I have with her stories: the repetition. Of course, some stories a true gems ("A Good man is Hard to Find", "The River"), but after making my way through about a third of the stories, the same themes started reappearing with the same type of deffiecent characters and the same kinds of endings.

That is not to say they aren't enjoyable. I laughed along with some g
May 14, 2012 Hadrian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've written and thrown out three drafts on why Flannery O'Connor is Great. I won't bother with it again, not for a while.

She covers the Grotesque and Sin of Southern life, for some thirty-odd stories. Sin and Grace in a palatable and altering way. Excellent characterization, using the smallest of details and conversations to broaden personality.

Like all good short story collections, not to be consumed in one sitting.
“A good man is hard to find,” Red Sammy said. “Everything is getting terrible.”

Vorrei avere un dottorato in letteratura americana per poter parlare della meravigliosa O’Connor con cognizione di causa, ma purtroppo non è il mio caso.
Cinici, tragici, amari, cattivi, violenti, perversi. Se anche solo uno di questi aggettivi stuzzica le vostre corde, avete trovato la raccolta perfetta!
La O’Connor non sembra contemplare l’idea di lieto fine e le differenti sorti assegnate ai suoi personaggi sono dec
Alexa Vaughn
Jan 28, 2008 Alexa Vaughn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every one of these stories leaves its main character in a complete sense of doom, but there's more to it than that. There's a spiritual revelation or rebirth in the midst the character's painful stupor. What I love about these endings is that as painful as that character's state of mind is at the end, they're also seeing things more clearly and truthfully than they ever have in their life--and it's undeniably beautiful, no matter how painful the situation happens to be. And boy does she know how ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Jake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Flannery O'Connor had a lot to be unhappy about. Dying of lupus in backwater Georgia. Or before that, being too-smart and too-ugly growing up in a time when Southern women were supposed to be seen and not heard. Or moving up North and feeling homesick for a place she spent most of her life hating and trying to escape, and them coming back sick and over-educated and feeling more out of place than ever. That stuff would have been hard enough to deal with in itself, but if you're also deeply religi ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: racconti
Nei racconti di Flannery O'Connor il vero protagonista è il mistero, l'inspiegabile che si compie nelle diverse manifestazioni della grazia e nelle azioni che i protagonisti decidono di intraprendere o, meglio, nel modo in cui gli stessi scelgono di gestire la nuova consapevolezza in relazione al libero arbitrio.

Continua su:
May 08, 2008 Tyler rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Southern Lit Fans
Recommended to Tyler by: Southern Lit Fans
How would you feel if you emptied your garbage can on the floor, searching through the contents for a valuable you were sure was lost there, only to end up with muck on your hands? That's how I felt after reading a collection of the author's short stories.

With a few adjustments for technology and history, the characters depicted in story after story are mostly ordinary, modern Americans. In fact, the author's benighted rookery of dim-wits and out-and-out idiots finds its voice today thoughout th
Having lived with this collection for almost a year, and having read each story as slowly as possible, in coming to the end I feel I'm now grieving for all that O'Connor never wrote.

As Thomas Merton said about Flannery in 1965: "A relentlessly perfect writer, full of tragedy and irony."
This book is like a song that gets stuck in your head and won't go away. One you don't really like and, yet, it repeats itself over and over again in your mind until it drives you nuts.

Well, I'm going to be in the minority here folks and admit that after reading this lifelong collection of Flannery O'Connor's works, I am not a fan. Some stories I liked. For example, A Good Man is Hard to find is one that will stick with me. Most of the stories won't stick with me. Some, I've already dismissed fr
Abimelech Abimelech
Holy shit. Thomas Merton was right (I'm not surprised, but check it out): 'O'Connor to me will never rank among Hemingway, Porter, good writers like that. O'Connor is more like Sophocles.'

After the first eight stories this thing lights on fire. Sifting from A Stroke.. into Enoch.. into A Good Man... that alone is enough to just be completely blown away. And then there's the fury of twenty more to follow. In fact, A Late Encounter comes next!

I've put it down against my will for now because that
Jul 02, 2009 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
July 2009

Grim and often occasionally horrifying stories of the South and some of the people who occupy its darkest parts. Slightly repetitive, especially when read too close together--I settled for one story per day, over the course of a month, so it's probably best to take these one at a time. "A Good Man Is Hard to Find" and "Revelation" were especially powerful.
pierlapo  quimby
May 24, 2012 pierlapo quimby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglofoni
Come quando l'aria è così tersa da permettere, solo che ci si sollevi un poco, uno sguardo lontano, che abbraccia tutto e con luce vivida e naturale svela i dettagli più nascosti, così è la scrittura di Flannery O'Connor.
Jul 16, 2015 Holly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"[...] I'm the victim. I've always been the victim." ("Greenleaf")
Here's the thing: I didn't actually enjoy reading Flannery O'Connor's complete collection of short stories. O'Connor's characters are frustrated, angry, resistant to change, religiously devoted to their customs. Her writing is sparse, full of jolting similes and matter-of-fact dialogue. It's cruel and decisive. It's like quicksand, coming up from under to suffocate you.
He wondered if she walked at night and came there ever—came
Sophfronia Scott
This book was tough reading for the most part--O'Connor's material can be disturbing and I often found myself feeling impatient with her repeated use of similar character types (widows who run dairies, dysfunctional thirtysomething-age daughters who are treated as children, angry artistic young men). However as I went through story after story (31 in all) I became more and more impressed with the structure of these pieces and how the development of the character and the plot are woven so seamles ...more
Nate D
Aug 25, 2010 Nate D rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Misanthropes
Recommended to Nate D by: Jessica H.
Shelves: stories, read-in-2010
Flannery O'Connor is a fantastic storyteller. Her spare, precise prose renders setting and character in rapid strokes and then plunges deep into their essential character. I put off reading her for a while since realism wasn't so much my focus at present, but this isn't exactly realism, and it isn't exactly anything anyone can afford not to read immediately. More than portraiture, each story captures its subject at a pivotal moment and plunges straight into complex failings. Each coils tightly i ...more
May 29, 2007 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: litfic-poetry
O'Connor's art is purgatory. It reveals human sin-- no euphemism will suit here-- in all its pettiness and ugliness. Its sinners always receive their just reward, but without the benefit of illusion.

As in Dante, purgatory is worse than hell; and as in Dante, it always points toward paradise. Everyone here is so sick that the reader must have God's own vision to see any possible healing-- for the characters, or for herself (since the American Christians and intellectuals who make up most of O'Con
Ronald Morton
I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone this year, and that includes reading some short story collections (which I tend to not be crazy about), and in doing so I'm trying to hit some of the best practitioners (critically) of the from.

My biggest complaint about this collection is including O'Connor's early (unpublished before this collection) stuff up front. It makes sense chronologically, but they're weaker than the rest of the collection, and I would have rather read them last (but I'm OCD and
Sentimental Surrealist
If you're the sort of person who gets all on a book's case because it's depressing (in which case don't come to me for recommendations), you might want to stay away from Mary Flannery's dark and occasionally terrifying body of work. This is not a book for a fun day at the beach by any means. Even if you can stand the occasional negative feeling in your reading, brace yourself just the same, because these are some of the darkest stories you'll ever read.

O'Connor is all about pathetic power strugg
Michelle Hallett
Some readers complain of a repetition of themes in O'Connor, but I think you'll find that repetition in the body of work of many writers as they try to puzzle out and understand what worries them. O'Connor, a devout Catholic in the deeply Protestant Georgia, a highly educated single woman with a chronic and ultimately fatal illness, posessor of a fierce mind, was an outsider in more ways than I can count. Her gender and time (publishing in the 1950s and early 1960s) only emphasize the revolution ...more
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  • The Collected Stories
  • The Complete Stories
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  • Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories
  • The Collected Stories
  • Collected Stories
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  • Selected Stories
Mary Flannery O’Connor was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist. O’Connor’s writing often reflected her own Roman Catholic faith, and frequently examined questions of morality and ethics.

Her The Complete Stories received the 1972 National Book Award for Fiction. In a 2009 online poll conducted by the National Book Foundation, the collection was named the best work to have won the
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“The old woman was the kind who would not cut down a large old tree because it was a large old tree.” 185 likes
“He and the girl had almost nothing to say to each other. One thing he did say was, 'I ain't got any tattoo on my back.'

'What you got on it?' the girl said.

'My shirt,' Parker said. 'Haw.'

'Haw, haw,' the girl said politely.”
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